The aim of the thesis is to cast light on the earliest settlement of northern Sweden. The starting point is lithic artifacts, which have been studied from a technological as well as a more conventional typological perspective (Papers I, II, and IV). Paper III deals primarily with geological and palaeoecological methods and my contribution is mainly confined to the lithic artifacts. The main research objectives are concerned with early postglacial colonization and cultural affiliation mirrored through technological traditions. Another “main thread” is a source-critical discussion regarding dating problems, and the chronological integrity of find contexts. The chronological position of artifact types in the North Swedish Mesolithic is another related problem being discussed.
The geographical area under investigation comprises northern Sweden sensu largo: Norrland plus the provinces of Värmland and Dalarna. The time period studied is the Mesolithic, with an emphasis on the earliest part, ca. 8500–7500 BP.
Paper I discusses the Mesolithic in the province of Värmland. There are traits indicating both an affiliation with the Lihult/Nøstvet sphere (for example, Lihult axes and saws/knives of sandstone) as well as other features more common in an eastern/northern context (quartz use, bipolar reduction, and, at least for the final Mesolithic and Neolithic, slate artifacts).
Paper II aims at elucidating microblade technology in northern Sweden as regards chronological position and cultural context. It was found that microblade production from handle cores (also called wedge-shaped cores) was introduced at about the same time in northern Sweden as in other areas of Scandinavia where these artifacts occur, ca. 8000–7500 BP. The handle core tradition continued until ca. 5500/5000 BP.
Paper III deals with lake-tilting caused by non-uniform glacio-isostatic uplift. This phenomenon has been used to identify potential areas of Mesolithic occupation in the Arjeplog area, Lapland. Surveys and excavations within the research project "Man, Fire, and Landscape", have significantly increased the number of Mesolithic sites in the area. The investigations have resulted in the discovery of the oldest firmly dated archaeological site in northern Sweden, Dumpokjauratj, in Arjeplog parish, Lapland, with a maximum date of 8630 ± 85 BP.
Paper IV discusses the pioneering phase of occupation in northern Sweden, in the light of the above-mentioned site of Dumpokjauratj and a site at Garaselet in northern Västerbotten. These are further compared with contemporary sites in surrounding areas of Fennoscandia. The majority of the assemblages are dominated by platform reduction, even if bipolar reduction also occurs at the earliest sites. Slate artifacts found at Dumpokjauratj suggest connections with the Finnish Mesolithic, which is the only cultural context in our region with documented slate use at this early point in time. But there are also traits that do not specifically point towards Finland, e.g. frequent use of fine-grained flint-like materials and porphyry, and (at Dumpokjauratj) a lanceolate microlith made of a microblade of this fine-grained igneous rock. The latter suggests associations with the Scandinavian Mesolithic in general.
In any event, the early dates from Dumpokjauratj show that interior Lapland was occupied soon after deglaciation, probably within a few hundred years.
2003. , 159 p.
Archaeology, Mesolithic, pioneer settlement, lithic technology, cultural context, chronology, glacio-isostatic uplift, lake-tilting